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Michael Aaron Rockland Education. (2012) 'An American Diplomat in Franco Spain.'

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Spain 17, Madrid 12, United States 10, Martin Luther King 5, U.s. 4, Franco 4, Dr. King 3, Us 3, Soviet Union 2, Spaniard 2, U.s. Navy 2, Nazis 2, The Navy 2, C-span 2, Martin Luther 2, Rockland 2, Washington 2, Argentina 2, Princeton 2, Vietnam 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Michael Aaron Rockland  Education.   
   (2012) 'An American Diplomat in Franco Spain.'  

    January 19, 2013
    10:30 - 12:00pm EST  

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and economic impact the caribbean sugar trade hat on the rest of the world, a family story of slavery and empire. in the inventor and the tycoon, a gilded age murder and the birth of moving pictures, national book award winning author edward ball recounts the invention of motion pictures and the relationship between an inventor and the of entrepreneur. wall street journal columnist and vice chairman of the federal reserve board of governors alan blinder details the collapse of the financial industry and provides insight on what can be done to help the economic recovery in after the music stopped, the financial crisis, the response and the work ahead. look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and on booktv.org. >> next on booktv michael aaron rockland talks about his experience as a cultural attache at the u.s. embassy in madrid in
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1960s. this is about an hour and a half. [applause] >> i thought i would begin by telling you how this book came about. i am on a train from balenciaga to barcelona just a few years ago and it turns out the woman sitting next to me is not only a professor at the university of valencia but head of the press. she said i understand you were once with the embassy. i said yes. i thought to tell her some stories and she said would you write that book for us? i said sure. the fastest contract i ever got in my life. i will pass it around. this copy of the book, the
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spanish version, and also pass around the american version. they are somewhat different. my publisher, john hanson, who is right here and his wife jody who is out here. here in the united states, they do wonderful things, wonderful creative publishing especially in a world where nobody reads anymore or very few do but you do so i am glad you are here tonight. after it came out in spain, in spanish, the university of balenciaga came out and told the first comma here to stay. it changes a bunch of stuff. lot of stuff it change was john's idea. and he was absolutely right.
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this chapter here i don't think anyone will understand it and also made some wonderful suggestions and so we took a chapter out and i put in an afterword, what would like to get out of diplomatic service and ando cf1 o get out of diplomatic service and and go to rutgers university where i have been ever since as a professor in the 60s or 70s where i went in 69 and i am still there and i was supposed to go to vietnam as a u.s. cultural attache from vietnam and i fought the war was a stupid idea and i had three little children and didn't want to abandon them to a war i di id't believe in. i left the diplomatic service. four years before that were the
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years in spain. two stories i want to focus on this evening. one is about the day i spent alone with martin luther king in madrid of all places and the other one is about one of the really terrible servients of th cold war which is when the united states drops four hydrogen bombs on omatiain, lucy unarmed and not on purpose and i will tell you that story, two different stories. before i do that i thought i would tell you about a few other chapters in the book and by the way i brought along a lot of copies, i will write servieryth
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you write in their. because i'm always looking for readers. that is why you write books. this is my fifteenth book. i write fiction, non-fiction, journalism, i go back and forth. i nservier wanted to make up my mind who wanted to be when i grow up and never have so i go back and forth between this and literary forms. one of the chapterby a couple chapters in the book i might mention and get on to the martin luther king story, one of the chapters is about making the movie doctors of auto, dr. zhit zhivago though marjorie fears his father ran geraldine chaplin his mother and their the picture in the book in the spanish edition and the american position, how that came about, was a very strange and wonderful
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experience and there's another chapter on what it was like to be a jew in omatiain in those da y when given the -- between franco and the vatican, which made serviery other religion illegal begin that chapter with a funny stormed i am in a bar in northen spain and the guys are trying to teach me how to pour the wonderful cider, the hard cider which perhaps you know -- you hold the bottle this wg your head, you have a glass with a very big opened last pointing out and the cider is supposed to hit the outside and bounce in
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and iite trying to do that and most of it is running down my pants all over the floor. little bit is going into the glass and one of the guys sa y to me -ke twe are pretty well drunk by this time and one of the unn y sg catholic or atheist? those seemed to be the only possibilities. i said no, i am neither a catholic nor an atheist. no kidding? you must be protestant. why would you think that? servierybody an american governt -- that is not true either. john kennedy -- so i said, what are you? i am jewish. you couldn't be jewish. he ghy couldn't i be it?
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r aou don't have any horns. i joked, i said i had some cut off when i came into the ford yn service. he took it seriously. there is a picture in the book which again is in the american book thanks to john, of peichelangelo's moses where shows moses with horns. how they think i wear my horns, i couldn't possibly be jewish. there's a chapter called lost in
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translation because i looked at what is obscene in the united states, what is obscene in spanish. very different things. i would say in united states i would be beaten to death by all the women from 50 miles around and spaniards say it doesn't work and there are things that are the other way around that spaniards would never say and you get a real sense or feeling how the language is such an indexed culture and also what it should teach all of us is when you translate you have to know not just both languages but both cultures. you really do. i have translated one book from spanish into english and i
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really had to know argentina for the book. and in the nineteenth century, to do that. and it means literal translation. it is a perfect example, how translation, you wouldn't say cow translation in english, you would say literal translation. you have to know both cultures to do that kind of thing. one other been yet from one of the stories, the first story is how i managed not to shake hands with francisco franco.
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in those days spain had lots of fascists around, not just the government. this was a fascist and even nazis in exile were living in madrid. my next-door neighbor was a romanian nazi. we didn't speak for four years. and also there were lots of people living in madrid then who loved spanish culture as i do. at one point i call this a love letter to spain and it is. i would seek one dimming go corona walking around in my neighborhood, juan domongo pe o
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perro perrone. when i would see real nazis that was something else. i went to a party. i was invited by the spanish government to go to a party at his place and since he was a guy i worked with in cultural affairs i went to the party and walked in the door in the immediately spotted two people. i couldn't believe it. on one end of the room was a bug gardner who lived in spain and on the other end of the room was otto scored zany --scorzene the guy had their call his favorites folder, he was the leader of the attack on this mountaintop with gliders, partisans in italy who captured mussolini, not sure
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what to do in 43, and he led this in the middle of the night, these gliders in a flat place on top of the mountain. they killed all the partisans who got mussolini and put him back into power. he is standing on the other an end. somehow the contrast--straight out of sigmund freud. and i wasn't going to go down where he was because five minutes i would have punched him so i fought especially since i was a guest in the spanish government i would wander down to a neighbor who was standing drinking and just barely standing up. she was an alcoholic and basically drink herself to death. she was staring and i said i
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wanted to tell you how much i have enjoyed your movies over the years, you speak english beautifully for a spaniard. that is because i am not a spaniard. that is because you drifted away. and she was really gone. that is typical of that chapter, then i want to go to the king story. the ambassador who is your boss in the diplomatic service received an invitation to the spanish national arts show which used to take place in the
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central park, behind the museum, very big park. and the crystal palace fair. the ambassador received the invitation. he gets a minister, the next down the line all the way to the hallway. there was nobody i could give it to. that was the end of the line. so i went although i was very much looking forward to going. agricultural attache, the people you want to appreciate american culture, the artists and writers and musicians and the most cultured spaniards and students and those are the people you are trying to convince that the united states is not totally barbaric country. and so i went.
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everybody that was fair, they were all ambassadors. i was supposed to feel pretty good about myself and my 20s and everybody else was an ambassador and make believe ambassador here representing the united states. the united states coming around with wonderful warders and lovely wine. the first thing i noticed was none of my friends were there. the pictures were all over the wall but none of them were there this. they weren't there. they must have known something i didn't know because suddenly chief of protocol, everybody, all the diplomats to line up in line so i lined up and right here was the ambassador from guatemala and right here was the
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ambassador from an african country i had never heard of and i looked there and oh man, here comes franco. i had no idea, surrounded by generals or what not and here is franco coming along. and the most junior guy in the whole embassy, i would never be in this position and he is coming along and greeting each diplomat there is from the country and having a two minute conversation with them and moving on. i just can't do this. i am not going to shake hands with franco. it was my duty to do it, talk about damned if you do, damned if you don't. i am not going to -- if he gets here, i have to shake it but so
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i will be a shame the rest of my life. and i realize right behind me was of portable wall, kind of the screen, a big wall, a stand, a panel. don't know how to describe it in english or spanish with some pictures on it. in addition to the pictures on walls there were these pictures on these panels and i thought wow, can i really do this? i sort of backed away from the guatemalan and african and simply went behind a panel. very afraid somebody from the spanish government had seen me or the word would get back to the embassy and i would be on the first plane out by morning if not earlier.
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i was very -- but nobody saw me. calfs neither the spanish government, nobody from the spanish government notice and nobody reported to the embassy and the next day, are watch until franco went by and came out again and is back into the line, what a great moment, enjoy very much so that gives you a sense of what is in this book in general and how i want to focus on the two stories and i will take questions that you would like to ask me later on. the martin luther king story. c via had happened to mention to
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the ambassador, i had written the master's thesis on the montgomery bus boycott in 56 which brought martin to the world's attention. we all remember that event and this is why what happened happened. i forget the context but i mentioned this to him so that morning i am sitting there, and i am reading abc and like the other spanish newspaper, published in tabloid form, and on the cover is a picture of martin luther king with the pope all vi -- paul vi and is rumored that the king is coming to
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madrid and the picture was taken the day before. and then the phone rang. this is ambassador woodward. what did i do now? that is what i am thinking because the ambassador doesn't call you on the phone. the ambassador tells somebody to tell somebody else to tell somebody else to call you on the phone. i got the call from the president of the united states in that context and he tells me that mark luther king is coming to madrid and he said how would you like to handle the project? and i said mr. ambassador, i would give my left arm to be with them. he said you look after them and if you need anything else i have to be in an all-day meeting with the foreign ministry. i would like to see him myself but i can't and so you look
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after him, you need anything call my secretary. you could have the limo, whatever you want. he is basically coming here for day of rest. never been in spain. he is coming to be a tourist for one day and tomorrow he is going to amsterdam where he is going to keynote an international baptist convention for congress of some sort. i said ok, the ambassador gives me his flight number so i call the airport and his flight has already landed. i am supposed to be looking after him, but this notion where he could be, there are 500 hotels in madrid and i don't even know if he is staying in a
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hotel. i don't even know if he might be staying with a friend or something. i have no idea. i don't know if he is scared. might have screwed this thing up already. it wasn't my fault, the ambassador called me, the plane had landed. so i started to call hotels. i don't know why i didn't call this particular hotel first, close it to the embassy. the embassy entrance on soprano street and behind it is the main drag and on the other side is the hilton. now is called -- is the same building. i called -- i should have called
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him first. had this ridiculous conversation with the desk clerk, really funny. i said is there a dr. king staying at the hotel? in spanish. he wants to try his english out on me. king? how do you say that in spanish? i said ray. he said i will do the spanish in english. [speaking spanish] >> for whom that is -- one time we had -- we never had a king. i said his name is king. you said dr. king. the doctor thing, forget the king. just look at the register. i had 480 more hotels to call -- maybe. and he looks at the register and
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it says kingo. he had to put an o on their somehow. i said really? yes. it is better in spanish. [speaking spanish] >> in spanish a black uncle and we say a black guy. so funny using the word in that context. his last words, running out the door, around the corner down to the castillo, almost like crossing the new jersey turnpike which is one of my other books, the new jersey turnpike and the native new yorker i am dodging
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traffic like crazy and get to the hotel and picked up the phone in the lobby and say will you connect me with his room and picks up the phone and says hello? he was exhausted. he had gone to take a nap and gone to sleep. he probably had not been sleeping more than 20 minutes. so i said dr. king? this is michael aaron rockland with the american embassy. the ambassador asked me knowing you were coming here and wanted a free day perhaps i could help you. all the media of spain is looking for you. i found you first because we have to make decisions what to do with the media.
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whereupon he says i am sorry. i don't speak spanish. said this is not spanish. this is english. the poor guy gets off of the plane, got a piece of paper, can speak a word of spanish and here is this new yorker with my accent talking a mile a minute, and he is not understanding what i am saying so figures i must be speaking spanish so i repeated its slowly. he said come on up. so i went up to his room and knocked on the door and he opened the door in his underpants. like meeting george washington in his underpants or abraham lincoln.
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at least for my students at rutgers university, martin luther king, that is really the past back there with washington and lincoln or something, all of american history before they were born is ancient history to them. there he is in white boxer shorts and i go in and we americans are in formal. he was taking a nap which i understood perfectly. i began to talk to him about we have got to do something about the media because if i found you they will find you and drive you crazy and you want to take it easy today. i want to help you take it easy today. and here is what i recommend. i recommend that i let the press attache set up a press conference of only half an hour in the ballroom of the hotel
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limited to half an hour. i will do the interpreting and he will set it up for an hour from now. i understand you are just here to see the town but if we don't do that, the paparrazzi will drive us crazy so if we don't do this and say it is limited to that, and he said okay so i called the embassy and he set it up. later on it was really funny to be in his room and i put on the television set. he was in the shower and it was funny watching the preparations for the press conference downstairs in this hotel which was on the television set. kind of cool. i asked him do you have any
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immediate problems? i have one, i'm embarrassed to talk about. we are all just people. is there something i can do to help you? so he said i have a terrible case of diarrhea. .wind ..
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four years later. so i said a take care of it. i'll be back in five minutes. in those days and probably still you can get things over the counter. it can get doctors to prescribe things. i went and got medicine. electing a demint who cured but with the case of diarrhea in madrid. that the distinction if there ever was one. later on he was thinking me for this. the phone rang. it picked up a bit of sure this person is speaking spanish. i picked it up. it was a spanish press the minister . basically a persecute person.
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in fact, he was going to the conference the next day in into them. a committee he called there. he said amelya would like to come upstairs to treat peptic fall. a said, but you don't want to do this, but it wouldn't be a really think to do the things he's of a protestant minister. so if you would just treat him it would be -- he would be doing a very kind act. i will let him stay more than a minute
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he said okay. a tall the minister, clusters. he sees instead of in the small room in his appearance. and the minister, of course, being spanish, he hesitates for a moment. did he rushes across the room and gives him a giant the back with more and had never experienced before. on the forget the look. he's looking in need of the minister's shoulder, the look of , hey, what did you kidney into. what's this? so then he took a shower and get
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dressed and went downstairs and did the press conference. the press conference as a bunch of silly questions. and the like spain the know would say that one of how you like spain. a cyclical worry. of take care of it. dr. king says he angeles made and that myers the spanish people. a series of questions like that which could not possibly have an answer. and then we went upstairs.
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acid when you take a nap now. take a good man. now pick you up and then will go to lunch. this we did. meanwhile i get the embassy chauffeur. any of you who know madrid the of the restaurant. the same restaurant where the sun rises. the throw we had lunch, the debate in the was this american couple. she says, i think that's martin luther king.
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he looks over. it looks like him, but it's not. i wasn't going to disabuse them of this. and we went shopping. he wanted to buy stuff, gives for his -- his wife and children so i took him to this place the new. i kept trying to steer him tickets to of. of course he, like any other tourist wanted the flamenco gall of the bullfight. worst of all, he wanted the ball five posters with his son's name . a and extend it perfectly if you're in madrid for the first time and that's what you did.
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i was trying to steer him. ahead of interest in the. then we put all the gives in to the, i told the embassy chauffeur that he should take -- go back to the hotel and destined to bring all the gifts of to his room. he and i went walking. we spent most of the afternoon to stay in and out in the park. we stopped a couple of times have come face. it was really wonderful. we talked about everything except the nobel prize which he was awarded two weeks later. we talked of of our families, our lives. it was a very beautiful and wonderful experience for me.
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we talked about black history, which was a foreign concept to me at that time, just like women's history of gay history or anything were realized the history that many of the study was called quite a good saxon protestant male heterosexual history from. that's basically will begun. and it was just a very warm and lovely time. there was one thing about him that i want to report which a think you would expect this. just as einstein they say was lousy in math, in elementary school martin luther king was a genius of what he did it very
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human in the sense that with the possible exception of my wife i had never met anybody is geographically sell out to lunch this crazy conversation. i thought he was putting me on. this is, we're in madrid now. you have the iberian peninsula, portugal and here. here is the dread metal. okay. from here wears round? basically to least to hear. i keep thinking, is it putting me on? and start sketching on the map and.
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his answer them. it basically northeast of here. and he asks me, the last question was and a cape. so from the dread wears the and states? his qaddafi put me on. but he meant it. maine and florida. a little bit to the west there. then i put some waves. this was just strange. he was a man who was unbelievably intelligence and, as i say, and what he did the
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only a very great man, but a genius really. and on of we've ever had at greater speech in our entire history, but a man who made it possible for us to be proud of ourselves as americans today that we would have had he never lived. the move would enhance upper. we had some her in one of those, if you know the new madrid, the him museums. the restaurants per those of you who don't know the. the too far from the park.
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we sat at the counter and had a ham and cheese sandwich. the deficit let's walk back to the hotel, about to return miles we did. we walked back here. by this time it was good to be either to:00 at night and said i would pick him up in the morning and taken to the airport, which said it. i knew the flight. we got out that the airport. he did something which was very curious. it was with the minister had done with him. that is, just before he went tour is planned he turned around , put his suitcase down and threw his arms around me and give me a hug.
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it was a wonderful bond. the other story, to tell you is a very grim story. the most difficult part of the story is that we in the embassy been nothing about it. it turned out the ambassador did know anything about it. if we believe in civilian control the military is a heavy tank. the head to of supervised the creation of a new american cultural center not too far -- on the other side, just a block down from the hotel.
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so we had bought up this big old palace. we were turning it into a culture center. clinical trial an attache, and he was going to do it. we had three assists and cultural attache is, and i was the most a jigger of them. this guy came. because he was more high ranking he was not given the title. he knows right away he would be a director. ellis said. their i am sitting in my desk
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and hillary 17th 1966 and the following happen. we were to learn later. in the american version of the book and did not have we used the send squadrons of the three b-52s every six hours toward the borders of the soviet union's. there would fly in circles round by the soviet border . there was a movie called failsafe which was based on a novel called fail-safe. also dr. strange love, stanley kubrick brilliant and funny money merely.
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i had seen the movie. i had seen doctor strange love. and did not know was about to be in it. these three planes in this cluttered each carried a four hydrogen bombs. each hydrogen bomb was 75 times more powerful the ball was dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki which brought world war 210 end. we're talking 300 times more powerful on each plane. each plane and four hydrogen bombs. and on the way to the soviet union, though i did not really need gas that much, kc-135 tankers from the american bases and we had and still have, i believe, the nuclear submarine base, but the airbase has long
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since been turned back to the spanish government. and by the way, one of the reasons why most of the people in the embassy, their job was to be cozy with the spanish government. one of the few people who especially right into the story, i was outside of the embassy, but even before the i was -- one of my jobs was the liaison with the spanish university. i keep traveling around and giving talks on mark twain and jazz and stuff like that. but the embassy was cozy with the franco government because it wanted to have these bases there. i mean, this was the cold war, and it was very cold and that time. the cuban missile crisis and 62. now it's 66. so these bases were extremely
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important to the united states government. and when i first got to spain we had before the guns on this basis the side of madrid which is right next to the airport another one near seville. and it was a little one. we had the be 49. in the middle of the time and i was in spain the bryan that b-52s. at a much longer range. would have to keep it wants national the squadrons would
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take off from bases in the eastern u.s. states with they got to the coast of spain the kc-135 tanker would be deployed. each one would pop-up the fuel tank. never going to give the soviet border. now they earned a fly around in circles for lunch hours. this never cross the border. what they were doing was called fail-safe. so when the novel, which i think was 62, talked about fail-safe whoever wrote it knew what he was talking about. i thought it was something he made the.
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the planes would fly around in circles. when the next squandered a to taken off six hours later was approaching and the first would break off contact, turned around, head back home. now the refueling was much more important because it really did have much few little. now the takers would become a pop up their tanks so they could slip back into the united states this was going on constantly. end of january 17th 1966 to about 10 in the morning and squandered is on its way back and one of the b-52s come to
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close and crashed. the flying gas tank below. everybody was incinerated. of the eight guys on the b-52 four were killed, four rejected it came down. three of them in the mediterranean. the key thing was the four hydrogen bombs. there were also rejected. the can down by parachute. but in the case of two of those bombs to perry sheaths were badly burned and came down too fast. these bombs, i should tell you, were on our end, meaning -- and
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the pictures of the book and one of the bombs, as one of these bonds. something about the museum of the nuclear age. but obviously it's taken them. so the four bombs came down with the parachutes. one of them we could not find for several months. but there was a spanish fisherman. that's basically what they did.
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this guy he kept saying and know exactly where the fourth promise. the u.s. navy would listen to him. ahead 20 ships there. they were checking the bottom of 120 square miles of the foot to fund maturity, ten by 12 miles. a guy who goes out fishing every day knows exactly where he is like you know you're sitting in your seat and 91 standing appear . he has exactly where would comedown.
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meanwhile we have a much bigger problem as it turns out. two of the bonds, the parachutes were badly singed or burned. they came out too fast. one of them came down just fine, but all three of them came out on this little town. 250 families. by the way, this sounds familiar , it's back in the news lately. one bomb came down just my, it came down slowly. two of the bonds, the parachutes for so badly burned, they came down fast and apparently he's been devices carried conventional explosives
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where if the bomb was armed the conventional explosive would set off the nuclear fusion or fission, whenever there's. by saying the bombs were not armed it means that the bombs would always be in an unarmed stature meeting did you would have to -- to air tran together would have to do about seven or eight things to the bomb, puts this in, pulled that out, do a bunch of stuff to look. that can only be done under the direct orders of the president of the and states. the president's wife is shopping
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in new york and the president has to agree that he will send a obama which will baldy york city we were all familiar with the air and carrying a briefcase. so these two bombs came down and the conventional explosives one of. miraculously not hurting anybody
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puts within the bounds of the. that means that the plutonium which is about the deadliest substance that we could imagine all came out. the black clouds. miraculously -- normally the wind blows off the sea. for some strange reason that day the wind was blowing off the land. most of the plutonium was blown out into the mediterranean, not the debt that was necessarily such a great thing either, but it was better than it landing on these poor people. but some of the plutonium was spread all around. some of the people left.
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they may have gone through a chamber with their wash them down with anti radiations tough. they went into the chamber leaving they're close behind compositions, everything. just their bodies cannot the other side of the chandler. and for many, many years, at least 25 that i know of the people were given urinalysis to see if they had been infected by the radiation. what the u.s. and it was basically go in there and with the geiger counters there were obviously picking of creation, and it went in there wearing all kinds of special anti radiation suits. they went in there and bulldozed the entire town. all houses, everything in the houses and 3 feet down with
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tomatoes and 3 feet below the demands. all bulldozed and pulverized in terms of the house. all of the stuff were put into thousands and thousands of barrels. 5500 barrels. and they were loaded aboard ships. if you ever want to visit the original you have to go the south carolina because they went up the savannah river which separates seven south carolina from georgia up the river there was an abandoned quarry. he put all the -- rules and to the quarry and unsealed of.
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i don't believe it sealed of. at some point or other it's going to give way if it's not looking already. so where's the fourth pond kinnock finally they're desperate. the navy is desperate. so they go out with baca. he goes out on his boat. this and the destroyer with them . the bomb threat here. of course that is exactly where it was.
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twenty ships looking for a and discussions are in this absolutely nuts. the hon heat it up? it's down about 3,000 feet. there's a movie with robert deniro and cuba getting jr. in which she wants to be the driver called men of honor. it shows a one. walking along on the bottom of the sea. he comes across the ball. you can't go that death the any kind a diving suit. though the. apparently the movie is based on our bill guy. he comes up briefly that movie.
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he was the father of the hydrogen bomb. it's -- it was going to be a romantic comedy. in american women with the spanish corona fallen love. the bomb brought them together. and nothing ever made the movie for all we got the fourth bomb the spaniards are very concerned about whether the tourists are going to come down to the province which has a lot of tourists and beaches.
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a world story. and the soviets had said the spanish. it was right there with the 20 american ships. the soviets were putting out information saying that we drop these bombs on spain on purpose. the story is bad enough we didn't do it on purpose. by the way, the afternoon of that first day call the meeting of everyone in the embassy in said committed any of you know anything about this? more disturbing that he didn't know anything. if no one knows anything about it but the ambassador does, perry. he did know anything needed he said that the generals on the phone. he got this guy. on speakerphone.
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b-s saying using a lot of profanity to help, did know about this . top secret. well, i can't answer that question. furious. so it became advisable that everything was hunky dory. much of the embassy was down there. i have a skeleton crew when the embassy. i was part of it. the ambassador and the top brass
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in the embassy went down there because this was the center of the world with this moment. it was the big story for months. a kind of worcester could get down there to see what's going on. then i got the opportunity. a briefcase came in from the white house from president johnson full of papers. region have a diplomatic couriers in the. is it you go. we drove to the night. i said the back from one to kept chipping the rest.
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i get down there in the morning in the one was there except helicopters flying over all of the cows and goats going completely out of the mind. they're running around like crazy, just berserk for fear of the helicopters. the people stand around not knowing what to do it themselves . where is the american ambassador? oprah's he is down the coast. on the beach, and that is where the ambassador was supposed to be. so i said, let's go down there. we went. and just as i got there, just as i got there the ambassador came
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striding out of the hotel wearing nothing but a bathing suit and a bathing cap. and i tried to stop the ambassador. somehow give him the briefcase. i did not know the combination. it did give me the combination. the head of security was down there. did you relieved me of the briefcase. i said, what's going on. the investor is going to walk into the mediterranean to prove that it is a toxic. and on, there was a second pathn the afternoon which is the one, if you know the story, the one they have seen pictures of. that is the one with the ambassador.
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the picture, in the history of the 60's that has a picture and it shows two of them holding hands with debating caps on walking into a miniature in together. a terrifically funny looking picture, but there was this earlier in the morning because it could not get down into the afternoon. he did know if he was coming in not. he figured he had to do this. it so the investor is striding down to the beach. i noted that some of the people from the embassy have the bathing suits on. then other people from the embassy you have their clothes on think, well, if the ambassador and other people are going, maybe i better. pat for my career.
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a better do it. i got my best suit on to a best icon pastured, best everything. that this be a lesson to you. never wear underwear with holes in it. if everybody's going in, i guess i better. the nine ran into the mediterranean. all splashing around. splashing around. we came out, and the hotel was terribly nice. they had chambermaids there with towels for everybody. great big fluffy towels. i needed to.
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there were waiters and the beach with little trays with cognac and orders having this wonderful will come to a party in the morning of the beach in spain . there was not there for the afternoon swim. the head to get back to the embassy. we have almost no one in the embassy. i was doing three or four jobs at the same time and so i left. and then a wonderful thing happened. the only one who got anything out of these bombs was me, this
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miserable thing does the needed everybody possible to be working on pr with regard to the bonds. the navy in the spanish air force, just incredible stuff. and became director. now i have my own shop, my own staff, my own secretary in the system. coulter, who cared. this picture in the book of the inauguration where the investor
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was sick -- shaking hands with somebody. that was our inauguration. they still hadn't pulled up the fourth on it. i think we want to open it because it was awaited show we know there's still missing bomb, but we are cultured people . they both came to the opening. you wanted to identify himself as somebody cultural if he had the inauguration. and only one who benefited from this month -- miserable and horrible story. when i said before the story is not fully gone away, perhaps you've seen in the papers
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recently discovered a hot spot that was not properly been mediated. apparently this was a low area. and not know if someone was sloppier stupid. it through a lot of dirt into that area. it didn't take down. so there was plutonium down and. when it discovered that they put a fence around it so people wouldn't go in there, analysts had been forever the people, this was just a part of the town. so this will be run mediated. i couldn't believe it. the u.s. states and spain and having discussions about who's
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going to meet this. with the problem exactly? we did. hillary clinton made a statement about this reason. we will do it. negotiating with spaniards, but we will do it. i don't know what we are negotiating about. so the story is back in the news. because it back in the bins until believe that one of two things, either of two things are going to happen. i don't think it will make the movie. here we are 40 years later. still alive. the mayor wanted to have a theme park. you want to build a theme park. he figured it would be tremendous tourism. he was going to build a theme
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park. i don't think it's a point to be built either. simply nothing is going to happen. the cleaned up this one spot which was not cleaned up and. we'll have to see if someone still wants to make a movie or still wants to have a theme park i kind of doubt it. and no spirited my presentation , and not be happy to have any questions. [inaudible question] >> could. by the way, this is being filled by c-span and is going to be on television ask me some good questions.
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the questions? we have one. >> hello. can i ask you in spanish? >> short. of translate it for c-span, assuming i understand it. >> are correct. [speaking in native tongue] >> the question was, how then i began -- this is for c-span. how did i began as a writer.
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my first book was my doctoral dissertation which i wrote during the seven years i was in the foreign service. it was about an argentine to will probably the most important figure in argentine history. but was down lecturing a couple to three months ago about him and other things. my doctoral dissertation, ambassador to the united states, president of argentina, but he wrote a lot of books. the one book have translated from spanish to english as one of his books on the united states. my first book was really my doctoral dissertation which i was living in princeton them, now in morristown, new jersey. i took a across the street to princeton university press and
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the like the idea and published it. it seems as if i have become more productive as i have gone over, which is kind of nice because usually you think when you're younger you are more productive. but it seems as if my productivity has increased with age. the spanish baroque is my 13th book. only two of the books and novels the second novel was also published by and some publishin. a lot of people say, what's it like to back-and-forth between
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journalism, scholarships and fiction? well, it helps if your schizophrenic. i'm not, but it's a little bit like that. i always feel that -- fiction is the hardest for me, by the way. went -- want to have written a doctoral dissertation your ruined for life and being allowed to communicate with normal human beings . so the fiction can along quite a bit later. first and a scholarship. then i moved more and more into books that were more for a general audience. i also do right for magazines from time to time .
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and i have been involved in film making some also. one of the chapters in the booking may have noticed a mentioned before, a chapter on the making of dr. chicago. more recently and meryl streep movie use my house as a set. we had to move out for six months. and there was another movie that was made for television in which a friend and i wrote the script. it wasn't all that much money. he * did he would play the two parts in the movie. have acted in one movie. a story had to crazy professors who start out in the creeks in new jersey in central new jersey
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. they go into beer creeks. essentially there in the election coming up to new york harbor. they finally go on to manhattan. it's a scripted film. i can do a pretty good indication of myself. we made that trap. a film maker get interested in making the phone. it's not a documentary. it's a script. we wrote the script and then we played the part. i guess i like the variety of doing different kinds of things. the book i'm writing now is a more. it's a memoir of my two years in the u.s. navy drafted right and the college.
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they made me a minute and send me to japan. i spent my entire active duty time working in a locked psychiatricward in japan with navy and marine mental patients, all of whom were trying to come in. so although it was peacetime i saw a lot of combat in that locked psychiatricward. that's the book i'm writing now, which is similar to the spin book in the sense that it is also a more and now was 20 years old, some 20-22. hamas also thinking of a novel. one thing i think i would say that maybe i have learned that is very useful to meet anyone else who writes like yourself, palace try to keep the pump primed.
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i remember finishing one block. what am i going to do now? and that it might that feeling. i hope i can keep doing this, know what polka want to do next. it makes me happy and it's sort of takes the pressure off me. i know what i'm going to do next. i don't have to be perfect. nothing like perfection to drive you crazy in make sure that you do lousy writing. one of the things that makes me happy is knowing worm going. a new and i was calling to the navy but next. in and no.
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i hope no one doing it. i would hope that i would know. that's our function. keep water in the pipes. another question? any kind of question? in light? yes, connect a common good. >> did the embassy or any of the consulate staff ever have any contact with groups that were opposed to the existing >> as the liaison with the spanish in over cities, one of my main jobs which was counter
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to what the embassy was officially doing, try to cultivate democratic forces within spain, try to find a really interesting and important professors, try to find interesting student. one of the things that i would set up trips for three weeks the students. the first ambassador. the american version. we would send these guys over. some of these guys later became ministers. so no one's, more than anybody in the embassy officially the one who was released during the edge.
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however, there is always the cia we often think of the cna as the bad guys. it depends on the country. i don't know what the cia was doing. i never knew, except one time they called me and and said, we just wanted to tell you the been doing a wonderful job. the cia to me that, which made me suspect that maybe they were doing when i was doing, except they were doing it much more thoroughly in terms of cultivating democratic forces for the future. again, we always say this the way of the bad guys. some times there but the guys, assuming that's what they're doing, which i don't know for fact. [inaudible question]
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>> i don't think communing with the spin into where? >> from the u.s. point of view was there any awareness on the of the scenes? maybe you did not have very much contact with the intelligence community. soviet efforts to cultivate their own friends? >> spain did not have relations with the soviet union. officially anyway there were no soviet diplomats. >> in the soviet embassy. >> no soviet embassy. >> nothing of the sort. >> there were spies are something. >> you wouldn't -- >> i would know. there was no embassy at that time. anybody else?
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yet been a wonderful audience it's an honor to be here. if anybody would like the book, all put anything in there you what. senate amended it, just give it the or if you want to give it as a gift to someone. the great thing is coming is a marker, and you can read the whole book and give it to somebody else as a holiday gift. you get it to for the way. i will stay with this task. think your much for having me here. [applause]
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